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36 Years On: Alt Valley Community Trust

On 13th July 1982, residents, parents, and teachers began the occupation of Croxteth Comprehensive School.

After the announcement that the school would be closing without any consultation in November 1980, and a lengthy battle with the council, local people took matters into their own hands. The school was one of the few assets left in Croxteth, and they wouldn’t let it go without a fight.

The teachers and staff were sympathetic to the cause, and simply handed over the keys to the activists. From that day, the school was illegally occupied, day and night. People stayed on trampolines and makeshift beds throughout the occupation.

The school was opened over the summer as a summer school, running activities and classes. A meeting of over 600 people resulted in a unanimous vote that the school should open as a free school in September 1983, led entirely by volunteers and parents. There were worries over whether anyone would turn up – but they arrived ‘in their droves’ on the first day, to be taught by volunteer teachers.

The next 2 years were filled with protests, activism, and lobbying MPs, as well as fundraising and donations from local businesses. They even had Christmas in the school! Eventually, the political landscape began to change. When Labour won an overall majority of the council on 5th May 1985, the illegal occupation of the school came to an end, although it was not until September 1985 that the school officially came back under local authority control. The school was reinstated, as Croxteth Community Comprehensive School – or Crocky Comp.

From here, the Action Committee became Croxteth Community Trust, and in 1999, acquired the old nursing home on Altcross Road, which was renamed ‘The Communiversity’. The Trust then became Alt Valley Community Trust, and has since transformed St Swithins Church into the Skills Centre, taken on gyms and leisure centres, and helped hundreds with education, finding jobs, setting up businesses, and more.

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